Keep COVID-19 Boosters and Flu Vaccines Straight

You’ll need to be ready to avoid mishaps as COVID-19 boosters and flu vaccines overlap this fall.

To limit product mix-ups, separate vaccines using labeled containers or shelves...or even different fridges or freezers.

Don’t rely on cap color alone to differentiate unused vials. Read labels closely...scan barcodes...and consider using colored stickers.

For example, Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vials for age 12 and up have gray caps and labels for the primary series AND bivalent booster.

And the Moderna bivalent booster has a dark blue cap...just like monovalent Moderna vials for ages 6 months to 5 years and 6 to 11 years.

Plus the Moderna product for the primary series in kids 6 to 11 and previously for monovalent boosters in adults may say “booster doses only.” Mark these “kids 6 to 11” they’re not used for adult boosters.

If you support a vaccine clinic, label syringes as each dose is drawn up. Take vaccines for one patient at a time to administration areas.

Ask open-ended questions to confirm that it’s the right patient (name, birth date, etc)...and right vaccine (product, dose, etc).

Also ask the patient to read the syringe label if practical.

Find more strategies to help prevent vaccine errors in our resource, The Basics of Immunization and Vaccines...and look into our PTU Elite: Immunizations program for training on administration.

Key References

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Hospital Pharmacy Technician's Letter. October 2022, No. 381002

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